After pulling off an impressive high-scoring win to open up the 2006 season, CSUN was unable to duplicate that offensive production as they lost two out of three games to the Arizona State Sun Devils at Packard Stadium, in Phoenix.
The Matadors opened up the series beating Collegiate Baseball’s No. 12 team 13-2, thanks to a great performance by junior pitcher Craig Baker, who was able to limit the Sun Devils’ offense in six and two thirds innings of work.
The Matadors’ offense provided plenty of run support for Baker, as the team recorded 17 hits and 11 RBIs in game one of the three game series.
The Sun Devils wasted little time, going on the offensive in the bottom of the first inning. With one out, left fielder Ryan Sontag doubled to left-center and advanced to third on a sacrifice fly by right fielder Colin Curtis. Pitcher Ike Davis singled to left, bringing in the Sun Devils’ first run.
In the fifth inning the Matadors’ offense took the momentum. Junior first baseman Jorge Andrade started the inning with a single to right field and advancing to second when junior left fielder Kris Kasarjian was hit by a pitch. With one out and runners on first and second, freshman second baseman Scott Lyons doubled down the left field line, bringing in CSUN’s first two runs of the game.
Junior third baseman Todd Shelton followed with a double to right center scoring Lyons. Junior shortstop Jonathon Sakurai singled, advancing Shelton to third. The next batter, junior center fielder Johnny Coit walked, loading the bases. Shelton would score the fourth run of the inning on a wild pitch that advanced all the runners. Sophomore right fielder Brett Blumenthal followed with a single, scoring two more runs for the Matadors. Blumenthal would advance to second after junior catcher Steve Lemmon singled. With two outs and two on base, Kasarjian would come to bat for the second time in the inning. He singled to left-center, scoring Blumenthal and advancing Lemmon to third. Lemmon would score the last run of the inning on a passed ball. The Matadors forced Davis out of the game, forcing the Sun Devils to use three different pitchers in the fifth inning.
“We’d been taking good at bats up to that point,” said head coach Steve Rousey. “We were making him (Davis) throw a lot of pitches and pressing their defense. We basically wore him out.”
CSUN would go on to score three more runs in the sixth inning and two in the ninth.
The Sun Devils scored their second run in the seventh inning on a sacrifice fly by Eric Sogard, scoring CJ Retherford.
In the second game of the series, freshman pitcher Edwin Quirarte started for the Matadors facing Zechry Zinicola. The Matadors were unable to carry the momentum from the first game over to the second.
“We just didn’t play defense and pitch as well in the second game,” Rousey said. “That didn’t give our offense a chance to do our thing.”
The Sun Devils would score first off a first baseman Willy Fox home run in the bottom of the second.
In the third inning, Fox homered for the second time in the game with runners on first and third, giving the Sun Devils a 4-0 lead.
Blumenthal help started a Matador rally in the fourth inning with a triple followed by a Kasarjian walk. Blumenthal would score on a passed ball and Kasarjian would go to second. With one out, freshman designated hitter Chris Auten singled, scoring Kasarjian. Auten would advance to second on a passed ball. Shelton flied out to right field, advancing Auten to third.
Senior first baseman Erik Hagstrom would get on base with a walk. Junior second baseman Alex Bardeguez would reach first on an error, scoring Auten and advancing Hagstrom to second. The Matadors would leave both men on base, but managed to cut the lead to one.
Blumenthal played a major factor in the series hitting 6 for 14, with five RBIs and three runs scored, providing the Matadors with a strong all-around performance.
“He (Blumenthal) ran the bases well and played defense well too,” Rousey said. “He’s a competitive player.”
The Sun Devils would go on to score one run in the fifth inning and one in the sixth, giving ASU a 6-3 lead.
In the Matador eighth, Lyons would get on base on an error and McMahon would follow with a base hit up the middle, advancing Lyons to second. Both runners would advance one base on a wild pitch. With two on and no outs, the Matadors would soon see their window of opportunity close.
ASU second baseman Eric Sogard made an impressive catch off a line-drive by Shelton catching both CSUN base runners off the bags in what would go on to be a triple play.
ASU would score three more runs in the eighth to expand the lead to 9-3. CSUN would get one run back in the ninth, but lost 9-4. In all, seven errors were committed in the entire game by both teams.
Sophomore Chuckie Fick hit the mound for the Matadors on Sunday, but it would be the Sun Devils’ Pat Bresnehan that stole the spotlight, holding CSUN to one run and four hits in seven and two and a third innings. The Sun Devils won easily, 8-1.
The Matadors host Nevada in their home-opener Friday Feb. 3 at 7 p.m.
Victor Flores cane be reached at email@example.com